Since he burst onto the scene in the late 90s, Chilean-born, German-raised techno titan Ricardo Villalobos has been one of electronic music’s most idiosyncratic characters, consistently ploughing his own furrow despite changing tastes and musical movements.
As he told Red Bull Music Academy in 2012, his creative process is largely emotionally-driven, enabling his productions to break free of what is considered an ‘industry standard’ – 2016’s Bionic Sad, for example, weighed in at 45 minutes long.
“The consciousness is like a little old friend who is always criticizing, telling you not very elaborated thoughts, not very intelligent thoughts. I really believe and trust much more my subconscious. […] With this approach to music, to me it’s like a game, it’s like not a job. It’s the same approach I had as a child, and it doesn’t have anything to do with money or something like that. It’s a situation of joy.”
The same applies to his remix work, with Villalobos’ playfulness and stripped-back sensibilities putting a unique twist on artists as diverse as Thomas Dolby, Depeche Mode, Neneh Cherry, DJ Sneak, The Orb… you name it.
Plus, he’s a great lad to go out on the sesh with, or so we’ve heard. 🙂
With today marking the minimal maestro’s 50th birthday, here are five of our favourite Ricardo Villalobos remixes:
Mari Kvien Brunvoll – Everywhere You Go (Villalobos Celestial Voice Resurrection Mix)
Coming in at more than 28 minutes, Villalobos’ reworking of Norwegian folk artist Mari Kvien Brunvoll’s Everywhere You Go builds on the simplicity of the original to create a hypnotic, Nordic fantasy. Hat tip to Márcia for turning us on to this one.
Depeche Mode – The Sinner In Me (Ricardo Villalobos Conclave Remix)
Released in 2006, at the height of the minimal boom, this reworking of one of the standout tracks on Depeche Mode’s Playing The Angel sees Villalobos at his friskiest, as the track descends into a loungetastic swing rhythm towards the end.
Señor Coconut – Electrolatino (Ricardo Villalobos’ ‘Lecktro Cariño Mix)
Señor Coconut, aka Uwe Schmidt, made his name for his salsa Kraftwerk covers, and on his reworking of Electrolatino, Villalobos glitches up the Latin flavours of the original in a manner the original ‘robots’ would be proud of.
Shackelton – Blood On My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Remix)
“When I see the towers fall…” This Skull Disco release is rightly considered one of the most era-defining minimal tracks of all time, as Villalobos creates a tribal dubstep symphony across more than 18 warped minutes.
Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)
Kid Paul’s trance classic gets a stripped-back makeover, with its iconic synth riff buried so low in the mix that it’s barely decipherable… did I just hear that, or imagine it? Haunting harmonies from the master.
Why not share your favourite Ricardo Villalobos tracks and remixes in the comments below. Happy birthday Ricardo! 🙂